If you’ve read A Property Manager’s Advice On Renting To Pet Owners – Part 1, you may have now made the decision that you are open to renting to a pet owner. If so, there are a few steps that you should take to help mitigate any issues arising down the road.

  • Make sure you are comfortable with the applicant (i.e. the pet owner). As discussed in part 1, the level of responsibility of the pet owner will effect how the pet is cared for, and, as a result, if the pet has a higher risk of causing damages or problems in the apartment.
  • Make sure that you collect all of the information on the pet with the application. If the applicant does not, or is not willing to, provide you with the following basic details about their pet (upon being asked), it may be an indication that they are not the right fit for your rental.
    • Type of pet (e.g. dog/cat)
    • Number of pets
    • Breed
    • Age
    • Approximate size
    • Relevant veterinary info (for example proof of spaying for a cat)
    • A picture along with the name of the pet

Once you have approved a pet owner, prepare an addendum to the lease that specifies the pet has been approved (using the information you gathered above). Make it clear that this is the only pet that is approved for the tenancy. Any future pet would require approval.

Your addendum should also include the following:

  • details on what will happen in the event an unapproved pet is brought into the apartment;
  • details on how the tenants will be required to handle any issues that arrive during the tenancy related to the pet (this would include things like a dog barking when the owner is not at home and issues/complaints raised by the strata etc.);
  • what will happen if the tenants do not satisfactorily address issues as they arise (if you are setting a policy that unaddressed issues will result in a termination of the tenancy, make sure this is clearly stated);
  • the amount that must be paid by the tenant as a Pet Damage Deposit, the date that deposit must be paid by and the way the deposit would be utilized if there are damages as the result of the pet residing in the apartment.

Sit down with the approved tenant to go through the addendum in detail at the time of the lease signing. Take the time to go through each item on the addendum, answering questions as they arise. Have the tenant(s) initial next to each item, ensuring they do understand each one and agree to abide by each as part of bringing the pet into the tenancy.

Some landlords may want to consider a trial lease if you are confident with the applicant but still nervous about the pet. A fixed term trial lease allows the tenant a chance to prove themselves as responsible pet owners, while providing a little protection for the landlord giving them a method of terminating the tenancy at the end of the trial lease for those that turn out not to be responsible pet owners. Read our blog post on trial leases for more information on what these are and how they may be able to help you.

Remember – never just say yes to a pet and leave it as a verbal agreement, assuming that everything will run smoothly. Taking the time to prepare a detailed addendum can go a long way in ensuring your tenants know what is expected of them as part of their approval to live in your apartment with a pet. Plus it can help to mitigate problems and resolve issues that arise down the road.

As a property management company, Bruce Ward Realty can guide you on the pros and cons of renting to a pet owner and prepare any associated addendums with you. Call us today if you would like to see how we can assist you.